Honda Insight Hybrid Revealed Prior to Paris Show Debut!

Finally, after all that talk about Honda’s Prius-fighter, the Japanese automaker has released the first photos of its all-new dedicated hybrid model that will bear the name Insight after Honda’s first hybrid model. Although the Japanese company has labeled the Insight as a concept car, don’t expect to see many differences on the production model that’s slated to go on sale globally in mid-2009.

Clearly, the stylistic inspiration for the Insight was Honda’s fuel-cell powered FCX Clarity. As with all cars of this sort, the Insight’s design is more about aerodynamics and function than it is about style. We must say though that we we’re expecting something a bit more futuristic and adventurous from Honda.

The dedicated hybrid vehicle that will be offered as a 5-door hatchback with seating for five passengers is built on a newly developed platform. Power will come from an improved version of the Civic’s IMA hybrid drive system mated to a petrol engine, details of which will be announced at a later date. -Continued

The Japanese automaker’s engineers have mounted the compact control unit and the conventional nickel metal hybrid battery beneath the boot space to give the Insight both a low centre of gravity and the practicality of a conventionally powered hatchback

According to Honda, the Insight will benefit from a significant cost reduction in Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) components resulting in the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date. Sources state that the Insight will be priced in the U.S. from around $18,000 undercutting the Prius by several thousands of dollars

"The original Honda Insight launched in 1999 was the pioneer of hybrid technology in Europe and remains an iconic symbol of Honda's environmental innovation," said Takeo Fukui, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. CEO. "This new Insight will also break new ground by providing an affordable hybrid to an expanded number of customers craving great fuel economy and great value."

The new Insight will be built alongside the Civic Hybrid at Honda's Suzuka factory in Japan which recently expanded its hybrid motor production line. The Insight will go on sale in Europe, Japan and North America during the first half of 2009.

Pictures Edited by Auto Cars 2011